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Archive for December, 2002

The Soup Lady sends a big ladle full of thanks out to the talented and generous Sheila who spent many an hour designing and organizing this website. Cold weather combined with constant soup recipe exposure may be what prompted her to contribute this recipe:

Dear Soup Lady … This recipe is from Emeril Lagasse’s TV Dinners Cookbook….it’s really easy, and requires very little prep work. I use his basic stock recipe, too. I served this with slices of crusty garlic bread.Sheila

Andouille and Potato Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 pound andouille (or other smoked )sausage,
– cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 pounds Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
16 cups chicken stock, fresh or canned
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the sausage, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and bay leaves. Add the potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Season again if necessary. Add the parsely.

Remove the bay leaves and serve hot.

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Soups & Stews

The Soup Lady struck paydirt with this 2000 publication as three major areas of interest were satisfied all at once: soup, discount shopping and QVC.

On a leisurely stroll through Tuesday Morning, what do I spy on the shelf but this irresistable item – Soups & Stews by Bob Bowersox , the QVC host who does “In The Kitchen With Bob” on Sunday afternoons. Yes, I know it’s just a vehicle to sell Showtime BBQ Rotisseries and Nesco roasters, but he does a little cooking while he domeonstrates the product. Somehow, someone gave him the idea that this qualified him as a real cook, so he has taken to wearing chef clothing – I especially admire that little babushka he has around his neck – and writing a series of cookbooks for the domestically challenged.

But there it was right on the shelf for only $3.00. The cover price is $24.00 and on QVC they sell it for $18.75. Irresistable, even though there’s hardly a recipe worth repeating in the entire thing. Well, maybe one, but only because it is described this way:

This sturdy soup is a man-pleaser!

and the Soup Lady is all about man-pleasing.

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According to this New York Times Magazine article, ” Louis XIV began every evening meal with an array of soups, ranging from broths to rich and thick concoctions … His sister-in-law Princess Palatine wrote that ”very often” the king ate as much as ”four plates of different soups …”

And, my dears, this is exactly what I did on Saturday. After a picture perfect afternoon of lesiurely holiday shopping, lunch was had at Russel’s Restaurant. This place has an extensive menu and they excell at soup.

As you can see from their menu, they offer eight standing soups and two soups du jour. Although I usually cannot pass up the most excellent Wild Mushroom Soup, I decided to go crazy and order the Sensational Soup Sampler.

What a delightful surprise I had when a large charger was delivered to the table with three 6 oz. cups of soup, three spoons and three cracker/breads. Of the three soups I had chosen, ony one disappointed.

Beef with Wild Rice – this was the broth Soup du Jour, but it was thick and heavy with barley. It had an unexpected aftertaste of spiciness that was thrilling.

Boston Clam Chowder – this one sounded the most enticing and it won my vote for appearance appeal as well, but it was a crashing disappointment. It was a cream-based soup with colorful bits floating about – one could hardly expect to go wrong with potatoes, bacon and dill – but I give it my most devastating descrption: it was bland.

Russel’s Crab – my new #1 choice when visiting this establishment in the future. It was plain in appearance and I didnt hold out much hope for it, but Oh, my dears! An exposion of crabbiness in the most delightful way! The look of it was smooth, there was nothing drooping off the bowl of the spoon, but the texture was pure shredded crab in the most subltely flavored light cream sauce.

My companion ordered the Shrimp Bisque Gourmet which was pleasant in appearance – a lovely shade of pinkish/orange that a decorator would call “Shrimp” – and she was quite taken with the heady aroma of tarragon wafting up from the bowl. The Soup Lady managed to be on the recevining end of many sample spoonsful, and it was good, but at the time, I was swooning over the Crab Soup. And so that made Soup #4 – just like Louis used to do it.

The chef happily gave up his recipe (with personal notations) for the Shrimp Bisque – yeild 5 gallons. We’ll have to adjust it for home portions and test run it past the Panel of Judges.

If you find yourself in the charming college town of Bloomsburg, Pa., don’t miss the opportunity to stop in for lunch or dinner at Russel’s. Try the soup.

CAVEAT: as a general rule, the Soup Lady does not recommend attempting the Soup of the Day just anywhere. I suspect it is made from old entrees that did not sell, as an alternative to throwing them out. Even if it ends up tasting good, one can never get over the suspicion that it’s only mashed up leftovers heated to the point of bacteriocide. Use your judgement.

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